Friday, June 29, 2018

5 on Friday...Friday 5...Friday Favs

Welcome to five on Friday! Today I am joining all the fun parties for Friday 5, 5 on Friday, etc. See below...

Here are my five favorite products that I cannot live without! I buy a lot of generic name brands and it never really bothers me because I love to save money! I am very, very cheap!  LOL! However, these five products are must haves for me and I will not skimp and buy a different brand even though they are a bit pricey! They are worth EVERY penny! PS-I have NOT been compensated in any for this - these are truly my favorites!! (But any one of these companies can contact me asap and I will be your #1 spokesperson!!!)

ONE: OPI Nail Envy! This stuff is awesome if you struggle with thin or peeling nails! This stuff really works to make you nails stronger!!! It is amazing! I don't not leave the house without AT LEAST this on my nails! It has completely negated me having to go get manicures also - so I am saving there!!! My nails look great!

TWO: Seche Vite! A blogger recommended this years ago and I have never quit using it! I do my own nails and I would ALWAYS smear them after painting them! I sadly have no patience to sit with my hands on my lap for 15 minutes while they completely dry! Well, fear not, this stuff is amazing!! It will COMPLETLY dry your nail polish in a few minutes! Even multiple coats of color! I mean completely! It is a game changer for anyone that does their own nails!
 PS-Here is a picture of my real nails currently! Don't they look awesome?!? All from the Nail Envy and Seche Vite - I promise you will love them both!

THREE:  This stuff is awesome! Once I hit 40 my hair became very frizzy and frustrating! I tried this at my sisters house and it  tamed all the frizzy!!! Just one pump onto wet hair and my hair dries great either naturally or with a hairdryer! I HAVE to have this!

FOUR: This stuff is awesome! I read a recommendation online for this and decided to try it! It is pricey but soooooo very worth it! It keeps my hair so shiny and it smells amazing! I have tried others that are cheaper but I always go back this! I makes my hair pick up the light perfectly - it really does make my hair look awesome! Every time I use it - I get so many compliments on my hair!

FIVE: And finally - Charmin!! I cannot skimp and buy any other brand! I hate when I go somewhere and they have that thin, see thru paper! You end up using ten times as much anyway so it is just better to get the top of line in my humble opinion! I swear, this is my must have no matter what!!! I cannot stand cheap and scratchy toilet paper and I love the feeling of being as clean as a sparkling mermaid (cue the commercial-LOL)!

Well, that is must have 5!!! I promise you will love these if you try them! And, again, I was not compensated - these really are just my very favorites!

Anyone with me on any of these? Have you tried any of the products? What do you splurge on? What do you skimp on? Do you get facials? Do you get manicures?

I hope you all have a safe and amazing weekend!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Thankful Thursday

Image result for knit by god's hand thankful
I am joining the adorable Rebecca Jo at Knit By God's Hands this week for her Thankful Thursday!
This week I am Thankful For:
...All of you wonderful bloggers!!!  Over the past years the blogging community has given me so many tips and tricks on things to eat, use and buy! I was thinking today about my love of Seche Vite and I found it through a fellow blogger! Also, this week I got the cutest top ever and I ordered it after I saw it on someone elses blog. I wish I could remember whom to give the credit to, but sadly I cannot. It is this shirt though- the white one with the cactus!

... My job! I am in the middle of transitioning from traveling to working in the office again so it is definitely an adjustment but I am very grateful to work for a good company that takes care of it's employees!!!

...My recovery - both from alcohol and smoking! I am 21 years sober and 10 years smoke free!! What a great life it can be if we choose recovery!
My health! I have a few parts that are wearing out now that I am 50 but I am happy to be fairly healthy and able to get better and better each day I take care of myself and treat my body like the temple God intended it to be!

Thanks Rebecca Jo for helping me reflect! I think it is so very important to reflect EVERYDAY And be grateful for what we have rather than dwelling on what we have not!  I hope you all have a great and grateful Thursday!
Have you ever gotten a recommendation from another blogger? Do you like expensive name brands or reasonable knock offs?

The Girl Behind the Blog - Ann

I recently read a post called The Girl Behind The Blog on Ricci Alexis's Blog and I loved it! It was so much fun to get to know her a little more personally. Since returning to the blogging world from a two year hiatus when I traveled for work; I have a lot of new followers so I thought it would be fun to follow suit and tell you a few random things so you can know me better! If you are not interested, then I guess you can choose to not read on! LOL! Any questions are welcome in the comments section also!!!

Here we go...

ONE: I spent my entire childhood twirling a baton. I was a member of the Modernettes. We were the Grand National Baton twirling champs every year! Seriously! We would go every summer to Notre Dame University to complete and we won just about every year. The picture below is 1983 after we won and got our medals. I am the one far right in the grey shirt.

I was out of the group after high school but they continued to win every year they competed!  They have just disbanded :-(
The owners (below) passed away - our beloved Clem and Ruby Daugherty

 - and it was too much for their daughter Sherry Daugherty to go on with the group - so the legacy is over :-(
TWO: I ran and completed the full Pittsburgh Marathon in 2014!! I trained really hard and I finished!!!! It is something that I knew at mile 24 I would NEVER do again! I honestly did not think my legs would keep going but they did! LOL! So, never again which works out well anyway due to...

THREE:  I have psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. I was mountain biking and fell on my pedal and got a large gash in my ankle around the age of 31. The gash would not heal! It was the strangest thing! Then, next thing I knew; anytime I would get scratched or have my skin punctured it would not heal! So weird! So finally, after years of having these unhealed patches on my skin (I honestly looked like a contagious leper) I went to the dermatologist and found out I had psoriasis. No one knows what triggers it to start but it is usually a traumatic event to the skin (ie: my bike pedal injury). Anyway, over the years I tried everything from light therapy to creams to clear my skin. Currently, my skin is clear using biologic medicines - meaning I get a shot monthly to keep my skin clear and it is working - yippee!!! My skin is clear but my joints are deteriorating due to the arthritis part of the disease. So, needless to say, bad joints means NO MORE RUNNING (thank goodness that bucket list item above we done earlier).

FOUR:  I am single!! I was married once when I was 26 and it only lasted a few months! I am happy and much better off alone! (One a side note: I was a horrible wife and I always thought I was the bad one that made the relationship fail but I recently ran into my ex-brother-in-law and learned that my ex-husband is 52 and living in his parents basement so maybe he was just as much of the problem-LOL)

FIVE: I am 50! It is hard to believe that even as I type it! I feel so young aside from aches and pains (LOL) that it is hard to believe I am 50 but it is true. It just happened last month so I am still getting used to it! I have three other cousins that also turn 50 this year so we decided to have a family reunion and joint party for the four of us this summer! I will post pictures as I am sure it will be a crazy party knowing my family!

SIX: I currently live in a condo and am looking to sell and get a house! I love my condo and it would be perfect if it had a garage...well, more than anything I want a yard with a garden and a garage! I live in Pittsburgh and the winters suck when you have to clean your car off everyday from snow and ice! UGH!

SEVEN: OH Dang! I just gave away Seven in Six! LOL - I am a Pittsburgh girl! I love it here-I love the season and I love my teams - Go Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates and Penguins!!!! Have been here all my life!

EIGHT: I currently have 4 cats - am I the crazy cat lady?!?! I think maybe....and I am okay with it! I have two brothers that are 2 years (Nermal and Trouble) and two girls that are 1 years old (Grace and Faith)

NINE: Beaches are my jam! I love beaches and everything water! My family goes to vacation every year to Stone Harbor, NJ and now I have thrown in a yearly trip to Aruba with my flight points! Traveling for work does pay off in that area!!!

TEN: When I though about saying "I am dieting now" as a fact I realized that my whole life I have been on a diet! That's crazy but so very true! My whole life has been a roller coaster-lose weight, maintain a while and gain, etc....UGH! Apparently my need for MORE applies to food also! :-)

ELEVEN: My favorite color is yellow...and purple...and green...LOL! I have a lot of favorite colors!

TWELVE: I drive a Honda Civic. I always drove Chevy's until they quit making the Cavalier! Then I switched to Honda since both my brother and brother-in-law work  for Honda. When I was traveling for work I drove a really cute Jeep Renegade rental so now I want a white Jeep! They are adorable!

THIRTEEN: I secretly want to find a sugar daddy, retire, and travel on his dime. If you know of someone looking for a travel companion that will foot the bill - send them my way! Joking...but maybe not!

FOURTEEN:  Most important of all!!! I got sober on December 9, 1996! I have not had a drink since! Life was NOT headed in a good direction and that needed to change desperately!! I found recovery and an amazing life! If you know anyone that is struggling with addiction and wants to find another way - there is hope and help!!!! I can definitely tell you what I did! And, if it worked for me for the past 21 years, it will certainly work for anyone!

FIFTEEN:  Last, but not least, I quit smoking cigarettes in August 2008!! Best decision I ever made also!! Wow - I just realized it is coming up on 10 years! YIPPEE!!!

That is all I have! I hope you found something interesting that you can relate to! I can not wait to get to know you all better!! Thanks for all of the support you all give! This is an amazing community with the greatest people!!!

What decision did you make that changed your life? Have you quit any addictions? What was your "thing" growing up? Sports? Hope you learned something new about me!

Have a great rest of the week everyone!!!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Wednesday HodgePodge

Welcome to another week and another Hodgepodge! I am joining Joyce again this week!

 If you want to play along - simply answer the questions on your own blog, then hop back and link up at Joyce's Blog From This Side of the Pond!

Here we go-

1. Security or freedom? Can you have both? Explain. I prefer both but am not sure if both are possible. I believe we should all be free to move around and explore the world - life would be way more interesting that way. However, something has got to be done about the bad dictators! There are far too many dangerous places on Earth and sadly if you are born there, you are stuck! I wish everyone could live with democracy and peace!!!  Sadly, that is not really realistic! But it does make me very grateful to have been born and raised in America!

2. If you could visit any historical American site what would it be? Why? I love Gettysburg! There is such history there! Every time I go, I learn more about the strategies, struggles and sacrifices that others have made for my freedom!

3. Free as a bird, free reign, be free of, free enterprise, free trip, walk away scot free, free for all...which 'free' phrase can best be applied to your life in recent days or weeks? Explain.  Let's go with "be free of".  I am now free of traveling every week for work - I am permanently in Pittsburgh again - I have not decided if it is a good thing or not - LOL! Some days I am happy to be done with all the packing and travel and some days I really miss it! I do love that I can hang out with friends again though!

4. Something in your frig that's red? Something in your house that's white? Something in your view that's blue? My fridge ALWAYS has Heinz Ketchup! I use it on everything and I am from Pittsburgh so it is fitting! My walls and carpet are white! I love that crisp, clean look of an all white room! And something blue that is in my view right now are the post-its on my desk at work and this text for my answers!

5. July 27th is National New Jersey Day. Have you ever visited The Garden State? If so where did you go? Are there diners where you live? Have you tried Taylor Pork Roll? Do you like to play Monopoly? Salt water taffy-yay or nay? How do you feel about shopping at the mall? Springsteen, Sinatra, or Bon Jovi-you have to pick one. I love the Garden State! I travel there at least once a year for vacation at Stone Harbor, NJ!!! My favorite beach on the earth! We have gone every year since I was about 6 years old! LOVE Monopoly - my favorite board game!!! And ICK to taffy but yeah to fudge!!! Not a mall fan and I love Springsteen!!!!

Raise your hand if you know why these add-on questions are appropriate on National NJ Day. ME ME ME!!!! They are all from New Jersey, right?!

6. Insert your own random thought here.
I am so happy it is Wednesday! This week is crawling along slower than molasses on a flat road! 

I hope you all have a blessed and happy Wednesday!!! Now, I am off to go read all of your answers!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Momma's Not Leaving

Good morning friends!

I hope everyone had a happy start to their week!

Mine started great however, this morning was a little rough...LOL!

I got a leg cramp in my right calf as the alarm went off at 6AM and then when I tried to stretch it, I got a cramp above my left knee! SO MUCH PAIN!!! Seriously, I tried to step out of bed to stretch out the pain and I fell right onto the floor!  It's funny now but not then! The cats all came running in the room to find out what I was screaming about and just stared as I drug my butt off the floor! That is not the way you want to wake up! UGH!

Oh well...all good now! Happily I have an adjustable desk at work...I am now standing at my work desk trying to stretch out the cramps this morning!

Yesterday, I went around campus here at work to check on all of the the eastern bluebird nest boxes and got some awesome surprises!!!

Some new babies in SC2!! Not sure why there are only two...I am a little worried that a predator got into this box since there were 4 eggs!! I will wait a week and check it! Hopefully he (more than likely a snake) just stole the eggs before they hatched and he wont be back for these two little cuties!!

A completed nest with five new eggs!!!! It looks like they are starting to break out now (see the bottom right egg has a little hole in it?) so we should have babies this week!!!!
 And a completed nest with 3 eggs...momma should lay 1 or 2 more and then in a few days more babies!!!
And here is the best shot I think I have ever gotten!!! We always knock on the nest box to give mom a chance to fly out so we can get a picture. They don't seem to mind at (I think they know we are also the ones that clean the box between nests-HA HA). I knocked on this nest box and nothing flew out so I inserted my iPhone camera into the slot in the roof and got this awesome shot!!! Mom must have been very focused on fixing her nest or laying an egg because she did not budge at all! These are the best shots I have ever gotten of an eastern bluebird female!

 I love this picture - look at the beautiful detail on that mommy bird!!! Must be laying an egg...

I hope everyone has a great week filled with beautiful things!

Do you bird watch? Feed the birds? Dislike the birds?
What is you favorite way to enjoy nature?
How do you find your happy place?

Monday, June 25, 2018

Patio Plantings

Every year I get a little crazier with the number of plants and herbs on my patio! I love sitting on my patio and reading amid the beautiful flowers, fragrant herbs and adorable hummingbirds!

Here is this years extravaganza!!!

This is the view from my front door of the condo!

 This is my hanging fuscia!!!
 And here is a hanging mandavilla from Costco...a chickadee has made a nest in this one and there will soon be babies...
 My hanging trailing flowers...
 This is a beautiful plant from my sister for my birthday!
Here is the potted side planter....
 And my basil...
 And more basil and chives and parsley...
 And the potted planter on the right - same as the left only I added a serrano pepper plant!!!
 This is my potted mint!!
 And my potted Rosemary...
 And finally...a favorite flower that never dies! My Pottsy flower! My parents got me this and I love it! You can get these here...
I hope you all enjoy your gardens and flowers as much as I do! I cannot wait to get a house and be able to have a garden and perennials!

What did you plant this year? Any herbs?
Do you prefer perennials or annuals?
Do you have any favorite flowers I should look into planting?

Thursday, June 21, 2018

I Want to be a Queen Bee

I had a great experience at work the other day! Because my company deals with crop science we do whatever we can to support the bees!

We need bees to pollinate our food supply - they are very important! We actually have hive boxes on site and I got to go for a field visit along with some other employees!

We got to the bee room and our host began to explain all kinds of interesting things regarding bees! I knew nothing and it was all so very interesting!

  1. Bees fly 55,000 miles to bring us 1 pound of honey
  2. During her life (approximately 40 days) a honey bee will gather about 1/12 teaspoon of honey
  3. Bees must go to two million flowers to gather l pound of honey
  4. The bees gather 10 pounds of nectar to make 1 pound of honey
  5. A honey bee can fly as fast as 15 miles per hour
  6. It takes one ounce of honey to fuel a bee's flight around the world
  7. A honey bee visits 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip
  8. Worker bees are all female
  9. Flowers have bright markings and strong smells to attract bees and other insects so that they will pollinate flowers. Some also have dark lines called 'honey guides' which scientists believe help insects find their way into the flowers
  10. A colony of bees consists of tens of thousands of worker bees, one queen and sometimes drones (male bees)
  11. The honey bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man
  12. Honey has always been highly regarded as a medicine. It is thought to help everything from sore throats and digestive disorders to skin problems and hay fever
  13. Honey has antiseptic properties and historically was often used as a dressing for wounds and a first aid treatment for burns and cuts
  14. Honey lasts for ever - or nearly. An explorer who found a 2000 year old jar of honey in an Egyptian tomb said it tasted delicious! 
  15. The natural fruit sugars in honey - fructose and glucose - are very quickly digested by the body. This is why sportsmen and athletes use honey to give them a natural energy boost
  16. The Romans used honey instead of gold to pay their taxes
  17. Honey bees have been producing honey in the same way for 150 million years
  18. The bees' buzz is the sound made by their wings which beat 11,400 times per minute
  19. The term 'beeline' comes from the 'bee line' these clever insects make to the flower of their choice, using the shortest route possible
  20. When a bee finds a good source of nectar it flies back to the hive and shows its friends where the nectar source is by doing a sort of dance positioning the flower in relation to the sun and the hive. This is known as the "waggle dance"

Then we all got suited up, mixed up some sugar water and headed off to the hives. This is me in my suit...

And here we all are out in the field...

We mixed up the sugar water to feed to the bees. We just got new bees a few months ago and the team supplements their food by adding a tray of sugar water. We placed the sugar syrup in a 'frame or division board feeder'. This is a container, the size of a full-depth Langstroth frame, that has an open top and which sits in the super as a normal frame does. In the picture below, the very top section is the sugar water section.
 It was really amazing to see the inside of a hive and look for the queen bee! The bees either fill the cells with brood (babies), or honey. When a rack is full of honey and capped, it can be taken and spun to remove the honey! This is what the capped honey looks like!

Here is some capped and some not capped yet...

Here is a picture of a queen bee on the hive comb (she has the yellow dot on her back - this is not from our hives) she is the largest, lives the longest and her only purpose is to constantly lay eggs while others groom her and feed her! What a life!!!!

When we were all done we went back inside and we all got a pen and some honey sticks! It was an awesome experience!

If you ever get the chance, you should definitely take a tour of an apiary! It was the coolest thing to see!

Oh, and since I do not do anything halfway...I really want to be a bee keeper now! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wednesday's Hodgepodge - Volume 356

Again, this week I am joining Joyce at From This Side of the Pond for Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 356
If you want to join in...copy and paste the questions, answer them for yourself and link your answers back to Joyce's page!  Here are the questions to this week's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Bring it on...

1. Summer is upon us this week in the Northern hemisphere. Tell us three things on your summer bucket list.
  1.  Go to the Carribbean
  2. Eat a snow cone-I really LOVE a good snow cone!
  3. Enjoy as much time with my family as possible now that I am not traveling
 2. Something fun you used to do as a kid in the summertime?
We always played outside ALL DAY!!! We all looked forward to it so much. We ran around the neighborhood woods and build forts and played tag and rolled down hills. We would stay out until the street lights came on-that was our signal to go home! I feel like kids today really miss out on this kind of carefree fun in todays world where so many people are looking to harm others.
3. Rootop or backyard? Why?
Backyard! Love roaming the woods and yards in my - could not get to the roof on our house - LOL!
4. Do you read food labels? Place importance on them? Make an effort to find out/care about where your food comes from?
I do not. My brother does and to such an extreme that it makes me crazy and finally I say "I don't care". I am sick of hearing how many things are bad for me!!!  "Aspartame is bad for you", "Greek yogurt is bad for you", "people were not supposed to eat cow milk". I am not living on veggies alone so I just don't really care. I have decided that everything is sort of okay in moderation!
5. A song you'll have on repeat this summer?
Flyin' High and Summertime by Kidrock!!  ahhhhh...they both make me think of summer!!
Oh, and also, Toes by the Zac Brown Band! Now that song will take you right to the beach wherever you are!
6. Insert your own random thought here.
I went on a bee experience yesterday at lunchtime for work...I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Public Service Announcement...Check ALL accounts for theft!

In this digital age; I am very conscious of identity theft!
I religiously check all my credit card accounts online constantly for unauthorized charged, etc. and I shred everything that has my address on it (also friends and family addresses on return address labels, etc.). I have links on my phone for all of my credit card companies, etc. so it makes it very easy to check them all quickly!

However, I have a Starbucks app that I load gift card money to all the time! Everyone that knows me gives me Starbucks money - LOL! I just had a birthday and I knew I had a lot of money in my Starbucks account (I do not link it to my bank account to reload but I had just added a few gift cards all at once).

Long story short; I was playing on my phone over the weekend and happened to pop open the Starbucks app because I was getting star points and was not making purchases!!! I opened my account and saw my account balance was only around $50 which was way low since I just added those new gift cards! Since I am working in Pittsburgh now (no traveling for a while) I am trying to save money and take my coffee from home to work so I knew I had not gotten any Starbucks recently to spend all that money.

So, I checked the app under the Purchase History tab and this is what I saw....

Needless to say; someone had gotten my account number and made many, many purchases from my account in California! I live in PA and the purchases were California! The only ones that are mine are the highlighted purchases.  I only get tea or coffee so my purchases are always under $3! All those other charges was someone using my account loaded onto a fake card!! Thank goodness I checked as I am sure they would have kept spending until it was gone!
I called Starbucks customer service and they were awesome! They closed that card account and transferred my monies to a new card and they credited all the fraudulent purchases back my account and said they are going to check footage to see if they can catch the people that used the fake card! They said this happens all the time and a lot of the time people don't notice; they assume they spent it themselves!
Hopefully they will get them!! I HATE thieves and identify theft! So...if you don't use gift card accounts frequently - make sure you still check those balances too as Starbucks was able to credit me back since I caught it fairly quickly! 
Hopefully I can help someone else avoid having their account ripped off too!!! UGH!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Summer Plans or 2018 Plans!!

I am linking up with Sarah @ The Blended Blog for Summer Link up!

This weeks link up is Summer Plans!!! I am going with remainder of 2018 plans because I am so excited about what is to come!!!

I will be hanging with my family here in the summer for a full glorious week of family vacation. We have vacationed here almost every year since I was about 7 years old...

And, of course, at this lake every chance I get during the summer months...

Then it is off to see a best friend of mine in Lihue for a week in the Fall...

And finally, right before the Christmas holidays begin I will travel for a relaxing week in Aruba...I think this is going to be my yearly splurge...

I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am for 2018!!

I hope you all have some exciting plans as well!! Cant wait to link up and find out more new places to g visit and meet new friends!!!

Have you ever been to Lihue? What about Stone Harbor, NJ? How about Aruba?

Happy Monday

I hope everyone out there - especially all Dad's - had an amazing weekend!!!! My Dad is amazing and it i hard to explain how much he is loved and respected for everything he does and everything he has taught us throughout the years!

Here are a few pics to recap our awesome Fathers Day weekend on the lake wit my parents and siblings, spouses and nieces and nephews!

We spent to weekend with the kids skiing!! All five little nieces and nephews (between the ages of 6 and 11) are now skiing!! Yeah them!!!!!!!! I have video of each of them skiing however, I had to post this pic of my nephew showing off his mad skills by sitting on the back of the skis! HA HA! He is a little comedian!

Also there was an exorbitant amount of tubing that went on! Every moment that they were not playing American Ninja Warrior and jumping off the dock was spent asking "Can we go tubing"?
So, here they are...including me taking a turn with my older niece...I was off in a few seconds! LOL!

Soooo much fun all weekend! The weather was perfect and no rain all weekend!

Saturday night after spending the day in and around the lake; we had dinner and everyone partook of a charcoal mask! LOL! Everyone but my father and my sisters husband tried it!! Here is the group shot with my Dads finger in the top left corner! LOL!! 

We all had very sensitive faces the next day!
We all went to church Sunday morning and then proceeded back to the lake to play. Everyone was complaining that the sunscreen was burning their faces so...
Public Service Announcement...
Maybe no masks the day before baking in the sun?!?!?
I really hope all of the fathers out were celebrated and felt appreciated! I cannot imagine what my life would be like without my father and all the other strong men I am privileged to be around! Thanks to you all!
Happy Monday!
How was your weekend? Any tubers out there? How about skiers?

ICU Nurse it is

 Hi everyone!! I am just here checking in quickly. I almost feel bad checking in as it has been an eternity since I posted!!! UGH! Life has ...